So I’d like to a render a verdict on yesterday’s Can I Get a Ruling? The people have spoken, and 80% are against the use of “our hero” in queries, although some have pointed out in the comments section that if it matches the world of the book and is done purposefully it can be quite effective. I find this argument very persuasive, I have seen times when it works, and so I believe my own personal feeling is now: if it’s done carelessly, 80% of my blog readers will hunt you down. However if it is done with purpose and the effect is intended, it can and should be used with gusto.
Whew! Glad we got that settled.
I like how our inaugural Can I Get a Ruling? worked, so hopefully I’ll remember to do them in the future.
As you might have noticed, our economy has seen better days and there is a great deal of uncertainty all around the country. Gas prices are high, pocketbooks are tightening.
So far, the book industry seems to be weathering the downturn — Jonathan Lyons pointed out that book sales in January were up. But will this trend continue amid higher prices for pretty much everything?
Put on your wonkish policy hat — will the book industry see slumping sales with the slumping economy? Or will people decide that buying a hardcover beats $40 at the movies?
@ Paperback, ty very much though for telling me that
J.P. Martin says
Kristin from Pub Rants recommended your blog on her blog today. Just thought you might like to know.
And while I’m posting again, Nicholas Sparks has a WRITER’S CORNER on his website where he mentions that his agent was 27 years old and only 6 months into the business when she represented him–for those people out there who doubt you younger agents. I never doubted you though!
Tiffany Kenzie says
I’d imagine books will still stay in fashion… I would think there would be a down on sales in Trade size though I know someone else said otherwise–but let me tell you–they are 20$ in Canada…hello, I can get more bang for my buck in mass market. s
When economy is down and cash is tight, ppl generally need some sort of escapism… books are a lot cheaper than the movies. Look how popular movies were during the depression.
Several studies show when the economy is down, people continue to buy “luxuries”, but they are downscale from when the bull is running. In other words, folks trade in their champagne for lattes, their broadway tix for books. In fact, books and coffee are two of the most popular commodities in penny-pinching times.
(And, lucky me and my day job, applications for graduate schools also aoom up).
The good times are a rollin’! Peace…
If I have anything to do with it … book sales will stay up.
Give me a good ‘ole hard cover any day over a movie at $50 bucks…
And when you take two kids and their friends it’s over a $100.00
But I’m a book worm … but I may have to start checking more out from the library and buying less???
Because I really want to be able to read about “our hero” :o)
Another thing …
Maybe it’s just that I’m now at the age of bifocals & needing them 🙂
but I can’t stand reading on-line, so I don’t see technology doing it for me.
I need a book – even when I’m writing and editing my own MS … I have to print it because my eyes tire when I’m reading from my lap top.
So ‘all hail the book’, may it live long…
Kim Stagliano says
I think books and liquor are recession-proof. People might not buy the more expensive hardcovers -perhaps waiting until the paperback comes out. But a $10 movie last only 2 hours. A $10 book lasts forever on your shelf. And you can share it. A good deal. Scotch is a good deal too.
Our gas is $3.49 a gallon today, regular unleaded.
Speaking of bifocals… that should be ZOOM a couple of posts above. NOT aoom. Peace…
deborah b says
The more depressing things get, the more we need to escape from reality. Books= escape. Are ya with me?
Speak Coffee says
Books as escapism. Just like movie ticket sales increase during economic depressions I think books will follow.
We’re willing to pay a little bit for a 400 page vacation but forego the 4 day trip to Maui.
A Paperback Writer says
Thank you for correcting me. I will be more careful in the future. I admit my ignorance of this disease. Good luck in your battles with it. May its progress be very, very slow.
Totally off topic, but I like the way you segued into the next discussion:
It’s brilliant! Succint, direct–readers get it. I may have to incorporate it into my own work.
Susan Helene Gottfried says
Poking my head in from the RT convention to add 2c…
Historically, entertainment has done well in recessions/depressions. People need to take their minds off their troubles.
Now to market ourselves so that people are picking up books and not watching the mail for the latest Netflix.
My belief is that some books will do very well. I expect books that are escapist but have a strong tie to reality as a jumping off point to be particularly good sellers.
I expect that the Male Ennui genre will die. Hope.
Here’s a workable 3-point plan for someone.
1 ) Scrap novel.
2) Write Balance Your Bucks: A Survivors’ Guide To The Recession.
3) Purchase island.
Short answer: Yes
E-books are cheaper. No gas expense, less middle man expense. Payoff is immediate gratification. Guess where shrinking disposable income is going to be spent.
Jeff Abbott says
From today’s Shelf Awareness newsletter:
Following a rise of 4.7% in January, bookstore sales in February surged 11.4% to $1.1 billion from $1 billion in February 2007, according to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. For the year to date, bookstore sales rose 6.7% to $3.4 billion.
By comparison, total retail sales in February rose 6.9% to $314.7 billion. For the year to date, total retail sales were up 5.8% to $627.8 billion.
Note: under Census Bureau definitions, bookstore sales are of new books and do not include “electronic home shopping, mail-order, or direct sale” or used book sales.
I don’t know about the average person, but I do know the results of the economy on me:
1. I turned off my cable. Television and Internet access both.
2. I started going to the Library regularly, both for internet access, and for free books to read.
3. I am putting loads of my stuff, including about 3 boxes of paperbacks, into a yard sale.
4. I moved to a cheaper apartment.
5. I ride my bike more often. (In good weather.)
6. I eat out less. (Except with regards to Little Ceaser’s hot-n-ready pizzas. Cripes, $5 each, and they feed me for 3 meals!)
7. I have read more books in the past 3 months than I had in the past 3 YEARS, and have greatly enjoyed the change. I have also written around 20,000 words of my novel in the past 2 months. (Note: I expect this rate to increase.)
I think books are a much better entertainment value than just about anything else. However, the average Joe knows less about any given book than he does about any given movie; movies just have better advertising and more title recognition.
Will the economy affect book sales? Possibly, especially with regard to transportation costs of both materials and finished books. I think the more interesting question becomes “Will you pay $5 more per book than you did last year, and still buy the same number of books?”
I haven’t read any comments, so I hope I’m not repeating anyone. But Nathan I think you put it well when you said “Or will people decide that buying a hardcover beats $40 at the movies?”
I know a lot of people who have decided this already. Now let’s just hope book prices don’t start to jump too.
@ A Paperback Writer, I looked for some type of email addy for you and just wanted to tell you “Thank You” 🙂 It really is a blessing though, for my entire life I have always been a person to figure out how to get from point *a* to point *b* the easiest, fastest on most concrete way…that is a blessing
Adaora A. says
@paperback writer- Oh suuuuuure. It’ll be so much fun!
I check every agents site to see what they represent and who they work for…I just got another confirmation of a query I sent a week ago and am in absolute terror that an agent I querried this morning may work for that company (I know that it is a no-no to query a co. more than once)
*Is it possible that some send out a confirmation repeatedly?*
scott jones says
Motley Fool reports “Books are flying off the virtual shelves at Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN). Revenue grew a whopping 37% and net income swelled 30% in the company’s first quarter. It wasn’t just books, either: Amazon’s electronics and merchandise segment posted 56% revenue growth.”
The economy is bound to have some effect but I don’t believe (hope) it will be significant. I have a friend who found herself in financial trouble and has cut her expenses to the bone. Still she buys hardcover editions of everything that comes down the pike, always has a stack of new editions beside her bed. We have to escape somewhere.
People will get creative and swap and cruise garage sales but the surest market are those people who buy authors and will have to have his/her latest work.
Conversely, they say that during hard times people turn to entertainment for escape. Movies boomed during the Great Depression.